September 4, 1991 -- "Boyz in the Hood" generated a lot of negative publicity when it opened in July when violence broke out in and near theaters, despite the plea in the title, ``Increase the Peace.''
The film contains violent scenes but its central message is one of love and peace as we follow several young boys trying to survive and succeed in south central Los Angeles. It extols the virtues of hard work, study and nurturing. First-time director/writer, John Singleton, 23, uses stunning imagery and he gets good performances from the actors. He also uses music effectively in the film.
Particularly good are Cuba Gooding Jr., who plays the central character and Laurence Fishburn, who plays his father. All of the main characters in the film, including Morris Chestnut and rap star Ice Cube, who plays his brother, two of the boys in the 'hood, are people we learn to care about in the film.
However, the strong story line and the anti-drug, anti-violent messages in the film all lack the subtlety we see in the film's visual images. If Singleton can polish up his films he should be able to become a major force in Hollywood. Even as it stands this is a better film than ``New Jack City,'' for instance.
The film is ``R'' rated for violence, nudity and profanity. This film rates a C+.
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